I've recently been reading quite a few blogs that are talking about book review bloggers and writing positive reviews. It would seem that the majority of review bloggers believe that you should write a positive review of every book you choose. I find that to be, honestly, dishonest.
Before I began blogging reviews, I spent a lot of time reading YA review blogs. What I was floored by was that it was very hard to find one single book that any blog would be, in any way, negative about. Everyone is bright, shiny and happy singing the praises of every single book reviewed. C'mon! You did not like every single book you read! That's not possible!
So then I chose a couple of extremely popular bloggers to follow. I followed them each for a long time and watched what they did and tried to figure out the whole blogging thing. They all mention that they have received more books than they can read from publishers. I can only imagine that it's because every single one of their reviews are glowing recommendations. Now, this is only my opinion, but that's not only dishonest (as you can't honestly like ALL of them) but seems to be a form of 'buying' books by giving ALL glowing reviews.
As you all know, I am honest in my reviews. They are my opinions and thoughts and I feel free to share them with all of you. I don't like everything I read, but I try to tell you why. Maybe the characters weren't developed enough, maybe the plot didn't make sense, maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea. Whatever the reason, I'm honest about it.
I've been told that I shouldn't write any negative reviews at all. That's just not the way to get more books and to get publishers to send you books. I guess that I look at it this way: if an author or publisher chooses to send me a book (which quite a few do) then they appreciate the constructive criticism from an actual reader. I've had authors send me their books and upon reading the review, email me and thank me nicely for my constructive criticism. Now, whether or not they really appreciated it, I don't know. BUT they were adult enough to simply say 'thank you'. I don't do the reviews in order to get books. I do them because I love to do it and I like to share my thoughts and I hope you, the readers, love - or at least like - to read them and have learned to trust me. I do stay away from certain kinds of YA books, you won't see a lot of romance on here because I just don't care for it that much. I would hate to give a book a poor review because I just don't like it. In fact, sometimes I actually say 'here's what I didn't like, but maybe you'll like it'. See? That's nice.
I was discussing this issue with a popular YA author and she agreed with me. She said that it bums her out to read that someone doesn't like her book, but other people do and it's ok. Also, how are you going to know what you're doing wrong if people don't tell you? How do you know if you suck or not?
It's great if your agent, editor, publisher and publicist tell you that you're amazing. But really, it all comes down to what the public thinks. Will your books sell or not? If they don't, why not? What went wrong? Someone needs to be honest and I guess that will be me. I'm comfortable being the one that doesn't post glowing recommendations of everything I read. I think that in the long run, it will work out fine. I may never have a million followers, but I'm being true to myself and honest with you and that's what matters to me.